The popularity of the messenger, owned by Mail.ru Group, has increased amid the upcoming changes in the policy regarding the privacy of WhatsApp data.
In Hong Kong, WhatsApp users began to switch to ICQ messenger, owned by Mail.ru Group, writes The Wall Street Journal. For the week ending January 12, the number of downloads of the application for smartphones by users increased 35 times, the newspaper reported, citing data from analytical company Sensor Tower.
In addition to concerns about data privacy, The Wall Street Journal attributed
ICQ messenger’s growing popularity to users’ nostalgia.
An ICQ spokeswoman told WSJ that users’ messages “are never shared with anyone,” except by court order. She would not name the total number of users of the service but noted that it is most popular in Russia, Nigeria, and Germany.
Messenger ICQ was developed by Mirabilis in 1996.
In 1998, it was sold to AOL for $287 million.
In 2010, AOL sold the service for $187.5 million to the Russian investment fund Digital Sky Technologies (DST).
After the reorganization of DST in September 2010, ICQ joined Mail.ru Group.